Kalamamazoo County Trial Lawyers Association



  Agenda March 8, 2013

  1. Call to order
  2. Guests/New Members/Trespassers
  3. Approval of Minutes (Becket)
  4. Approval of Treasurer’s Report(s)  (Young Fred)
  5. Old business

a)     Law Day.,,,Royce Report

b)    Court House Security  Murphy Report

  1. New business

a)     2013 Fox Award…?

  1. Speaker: Judge Hamre
  2. Adjourn


JANUARY 11, 2013

If you have an item that you want to place on the Agenda for this meeting

Please submit it to me by 1/9/2013  rkupferschmidt@legalaidwestmich.net.

I.     Call to order

II.     Guests/New Members

III.     Approval of minutes

IV.     Approval of Treasurer’s Report(s)

V.     Old business

a)     Law Day.,,,What are we doing?

b)    Court House Security…What are we doing?

c)     KCTLA Web Site  What have we been doing?

VI.     New business


VII.     Speaker: Elizabeth Warner

VIII.     Adjourn



NOVEMBER 9, 2012

(Agenda Items received as of Wednesday, November 7)



VI a) Kupferschmidt suggests that having a meeting on Friday, December 14 is not a good idea.  Yahweh (it’s Chanukah, day 6) and Jesus (10 shopping days left).  If you insist on having a meeting on December 14, I Plan to ask Gary Apps to be our speaker.  I also plan to have Earl Dalzell dress as Santa and sit during the meeting on a stuffed, life sized Reindeer. So don’t try to call my bluff. 


I would suggest that we meet earlier (first Week in December, at a time that won’t piss off any Gods), If at all, and discuss the agenda items that are set forth in this memo.  Earl can come to that meeting wearing anything he wants.  And he can sit on whatever he wants. And Apps, you won’t need to prepare a speech.


VI b)  Kupferschmidt informs everyone that it’s nice to have a newsletter, but someone (like an editor) has to be responsible for content. Right now I’m the Editor…by default.  (Hell,that’s how I became president).  For now (the temporary now) , if you have something that you believe is Newsletter worthy (discreet gossip or better) shoot it to me in an E-mail, subject: Newsletter. Harold (Bronzino to some), I do not consider your stories about the fish you catch Newsletter worthy. 


VI c)  Dufon and Meyer-Sorek say lunch is too expensive. Fred III has some thoughts of his own.


Dufon:  Something that I think we need to think about is cost of our lunches and the date for meetings.  A lot of the attorneys that are working in small or solo practices are paying for lunch out of their own pockets and can't seem to stomach $17 to have the pleasure of eating lunch with us.  I know that some people attend the lunches but don't eat, which is fine, but then the cost of using the ballroom falls on the rest of those in attendance.  I don't think the Park Place would appreciate it if none of us ordered lunch and just use the room.  Do you think it would be easier to stomach covering the ballroom costs with a higher membership fee and then lowering the lunch fee?  Are there other ways to get the lunch costs down a little.


Meyer-Sorek: I long ago informally requested a cheaper lunch bill and was told to buck up!  Nonetheless, the price is a negative -- and the lunch simply isn't worth $17, even as good as it is.  The cost prompts me to not commit to attending unless I am absolutely sure/present, so that I can avoid that substantial cost -- and its even more costly if you pay when you get there, assuming that policy remains in effect. 

Price needs to be less.  Have we recently tried to renegotiate cost of lunch and room rental with the Park Club?  Might be worth trying, particularly if we can encourage greater participation -- that means more money for them.

Room rental?  Maybe add a nominal cost to the membership, as Jeff suggested. 

I also think it's reasonable to offer a free or discounted lunch to a newcomer, on their first attendance -- its gracious and welcoming and unlikely to be abused.



Fred III:  I have seen comments about the Park Club charging a "room fee" and that this fee is part of what made lunch expensive.  There is no room fee, we use the room as a perk of the Park Club member's (currently me) membership.  Lunch used to be cheaper, but a few years ago, the membership decided they wanted cookies, and the lunch price was increased.  Also, it should be noted that lunch includes unlimited beverages, and it is not uncommon that those who do not pay for lunch, still get a drink.  There is also fresh rolls on the table.  If these things were removed, lunch could get cheaper, but is that what we want?


I attend another group lunch at the Beacon Club every month and lunch is $10.  But there are no rolls, drinks are limited to fountain drinks, ice tea or coffee and refills are hard to come by, and the meal portion which is served, not a buffet, is significantly smaller.  While our Park Club lunch is 4 courses, (salad, main dish, roll, and cookie) with 2 main dish options, the Beacon club lunch is 2 courses, main dish (one choice only) and a small piece of pie, but sometimes the pie is substituted for a small cup of soup before the meal.


Fred III: 


When Vorbrich was president, he tried to get people to pre-pay for lunch with their dues and if they did they received one lunch free.  He thought that this would encourage attendance.  He was the only one that pre-paid.




VI d) Dufon and Meyer-Sorek suggest an alternative to Friday meetings.


Dufon: Also, maybe we should discuss whether Friday is the best day of the week.  I know it has been traditionally on Friday but is there a better day of the week where we could consistently get more lawyers to attend?  How a bout a pro and con discussion of Friday?


Meyer-Sorek  I too believe that changing the date of the meeting, ie/ to a Thursday lunch, would be beneficial and may encourage participation.  Lots of attorneys are either in court (particularly the specialty courts) on Fridays or they are heading out early for the weekend, for example. 

Most attorneys are working on Thursday.  In addition, my schedule precludes participation for at least half the year, as I work in the mental health court, which runs 12-5p.m two Fridays per month.  Somehow it always seems to conflict with KTLA.


VI e) Dufon and Meyer-Sorek suggest allocate funds to Sobriety Court.  Young Fred,  our trerasurer, has a suggestion of his own.


Dufon:  Sobriety Court is grant funded and is not receiving any money through the drug court foundation.  They are working on a video as way to present the program to the public and to the county to secure more funding.  Right now there are about 120 people in Sobriety Court and there have been several hundred successful graduates.  Would Trial Lawyers be interested in helping by putting money towards the production of the video.  We could have our name in there, some thing like "with the Generous Support of the Kalamazoo County Trials Lawyers Association" and put our logo or our KCTLA President's picture, or whatever.  It might be a way to get our Association's name out there in good way.  They are seeking money to help defray costs.  The total cost will be about $3000, and they already had to pay about $1000 to get it going.  If Trial Lawyers could do $1000 or $1500 that would really help.  Any money that is taken out of the Court to pay for the video directly effects their ability to help out our indigent defendants with bus passes, drug screenings, and special needs.     


Meyer-Sorek:  3)  Support for Sobriety Court and/or any specialty court might be good PR  and it might demonstrate  KTLA's constructive actions within the legal community.  The specialty courts have been uniquely successful in reducing recidivism and costs in the system.  Of course, active work providing free legal assistance every once in a while might also put our members skills to good use, once or twice a year.


Fred Taylor III:  As to sobriety court, Van Buren County does a golf outing to fund their drug court.  If I remember right, Kalamazoo has had a silent auction at the Kalamazoo golf outing in years past to help fund Kalamazoo's drug courts.




V1 f)  Dufon: State Bar Committee on Justice initiatives wants input from us.  very year the State Bar Committee on Justice Initiatives looks at issues that they believe should be worked on for the upcoming year.  The past few years it has been the Indigent Defense Commission which is coming to fruition.  I am on the Criminal Issues Initiative committee and they have asked us to talk with our local attorneys about what topics we should be pushing this year.  Some of the issues that have been raised are:


            Brainstorming 2012-2013 Projects

                     The University of Michigan Language Resource Center Language Bank

                         Collateral Consequences Update

                         Reclassification of Low Level Misdemeanors

                         Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act

                          Juvenile Defense Reform

                          Review of Self-Representation in District Court Misdemeanor Cases

                          Contact Between Unrepresented Persons and Prosecutors

                          Issue of Fines and Fees

                          Consequential Violations of Argesinger

                          Violations of Rothgery

VI g) Meyer-Sorek makes a reference to Rick Halpert for the Prosecution and offers a suggestion regarding indigent defense.


Meyer-Sorek  I also have been thinking about how our membership could provide real assistance to indigent defense in Kalamazoo  -- creating something akin to a go-to resource bank of attorneys within our membership that every once in a blue moon could provide a consult, offer tech support, participate in a mock jury, offer training / guidance to an attorney on how to cross/prep a particular expert witness; immigration consult; visual aid preparations, etc  Participation obviously could only be voluntary and only as availability permits -- and the expectation would be only one or two consults in a given time period, unless the attorney is open to more.  It is the lack of resources that is challenging for many handling indigent defense, in my opinion.  This could be a useful local response.


(Atty Halpert I believe has offered his litigation services to the prosecutor's office, for example, on a few  high profile cases -- not that they needed it, but it helped even them better prepare their cases.)  So I'm thinking about how to make such resources available when/if needed on the defense side.  I need to think more about this, but thought I'd put it out there for you to mull over.






VI h) Fred III:  Elections have their consequences:  Young Fred III doesn’t believe our bylaws allow you to be a prosecutor and be a member of the KCTLA.  I think he’s right.




January 11, 2013


Law Day:  Bill Maybe has an idea and a speaker.  At this point we have neither.

I need to get back with Bill to let him know if we want to partner with him and KCBA on this or not. 


Suggestion:  The Supreme Court Historical Society has a Web Site that includes something called the Verdict of History. The Verdict of History includes the most historically significant case decided by the Michigan Supreme Court. http://www.micourthistory.org/lesson_plans_verdict.php


I would suggest that we take it upon ourselves, uniquely qualified as we are,  to bring these cases into the class rooms in Kalamazoo County. 


                      We Inform the schools of the Website

                      We Provide Speakers

                      Drawing Contest for Elementary kids

                      Essay Contest for Gagie School

                      Essay contest for everyone else

                      Maybe involve Cable Access (A Series of Verdict of History Shows)


Court House Security  Perhaps we should bring in an expert on Court House Security to be a speaker…Assuming he/she agrees with us.  Perhaps we should find out when this mysterious committee meets and show up for a meeting.  Perhaps we should start arguing our position at County Board Meetings.  Or, perhaps I should forget about this issue and wait for someone a year from now to bring it up again.


Our WebSite  One of our many Freds, Fred Royce, knows more about this than I do.  I think we’ve had a website hosted by GO DADDY since 2011.  We have been getting bills from GO DADDY:


                      2011   $53.05

                      2012   $71.88

                      2013   $53.31

                      2013   $65.05    5 year Renewal of the Domain


I get the idea that Fred Royce, not our treasurer Fred Taylor, has been paying these bills.  This is ok with me, but it’s not ok with Royce. He wants  to be reimbursed…and who among us can blame him


To add confusion, something I’m generally inclined to do, Apps may also have created a website for us.

2.3 MB

Click the above file in order to learn more about the Favorable tax decision on the Solar Array awarded to Sam Field.
In December the Michigan Tribunal ruled that a ground-mounded solar array is personal property and not real property for local taxing purposes.
Website Builder